Review: Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams – Owltimate Edition (Switch)

A great game gets even better!

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 11/02/2018 07:00 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
1-Up Mushroom for...
Swapping mechanic is very cleverly done as it impacts both the visuals and gameplay in a meaningful way; tight controls; creative level design
Poison Mushroom for...
The soundtrack can be overly sweet and sugary in spots

If you were lucky enough to be among those who played Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams when it launched on Wii U back in 2013, you’ll be happy to know that the game has come back with all of its DLC and new cinema scenes on Nintendo Switch. This iteration of the game, developed by German studio Black Forest Games and dubbed Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams – Owltimate Edition, is a welcome addition to the eShop, bringing with it the most polished and refined version of the game to date. If you missed it the first time or perhaps didn’t get to try out all of the DLC, this is the perfect entry into a series that has an exceptionally quirky history.

The original Giana Sisters game was The Great Giana Sisters, which appeared on the Commodore 64 in 1987. It was generally very favorably received by fans and critics alike, but was ultimately stymied from being a true success due to its very heavy resemblance to Super Mario Bros. on NES. The girls would remain off the radar until 2011 when they resurfaced in the sequel Giana Sisters DS. Overall, the adventures of the Giana siblings tend to be affairs worthy of players’ time, and Twisted Dreams was no different.

Twisted Dreams sees sisters Giana and Maria separated when the dragon Gurglewocky abducts the latter. Giana is left to rescue Maria, but she’s not entirely on her own… if split personalities count! Giana is dual-wielding herself throughout the adventure. In one form, Giana is Cute and the world around her is fittingly goofy, but when she’s in her Punk form, Giana takes on a decidedly darker edge and the environment transforms to match. It’s a mechanic that’s unique to this installment in the series but a welcome addition, nonetheless.

From a visual standpoint, being able to swap between Punk and Cute modes provides some exceptional variety to the game world. When things are Cute, the environment is lush with color: bright, cheery, and virtually ripped straight from a Disney movie. In Punk mode, however, the world goes black and the bright colors are swapped with darker ones, the enemies become more monstrous, and Disney is swapped for Tim Burton. All of these aesthetic tweaks are great to soak in, but they serve a functional purpose, as well.

When switching between Cute and Punk, Giana’s world doesn’t just change visually, but entire interactive segments also become different. Water, for instance, might drain away, allowing Giana to progress further on her mission. Enemies take on different levels of ferocity with each swap, as well. It all creates some delightfully creative puzzles to take on and spices up the action quite a bit. Black Forest Games really did some sublime level design here.

Twisted Dreams ups the ante even further by granting Giana different abilities for each form. When Punk, Giana has a handy dash move. When Cute, she can perform a controlled descent/hover move. The transformations between each of the two forms and the world surrounding Giana is instantaneous, so much of the traversal throughout the environments requires some clever, fun, and challenging fast-switches between light and dark in order to progress through the game. There’s a lot of clever gameplay in Twisted Dreams and it all is as fun today as it was back in 2013.

This all comes with a score by composer Chris Hülsbeck, who Nintendo fans might know best for the soundtrack for Star Wars: Rogue Squadron on Nintendo 64. The soundtrack is good overall, although some might find the Cute sections a tad saccharine. That said, Swedish rockers Machinae Supremacy (a group that mixes chiptunes with metal and, ironically, had previously done their own take on the theme song for The Great Giana Sisters!) contribute the darker tracks, which more or less balances the music out.

There’s Score and Time Attack modes to take on, for those who are interested, and even a harder difficulty level to challenge, all rounding out this version of Twisted Dreams. Basically, anyone who has yet to play Twisted Dreams owes it to themselves to finally try the game with Owltimate Edition. It looks as gorgeous as it ever has, plays even better, and is more polished than ever on Switch. It might have taken a while for the Giana girls to get back into action, but between this and their DS game, it’s a name in video games that I certainly hope continues to keep churning out wonderful new adventures for all of us to play. Go give Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams — Owltimate Edition a download!

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

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